On the July 17th Wednesday Edition of Talk Business With Howard Radio, I will be talking with Viveka von Rosen, the @LinkedInExpert. Viveka will be sharing the latest news and updates about LinkedIn including endorsements. Viveka is the author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour A Day; the host of the popular Twitter chat, #LinkedInChat on Tuesday nights, Mashable considers her blog, LinkedIntoBusiness, to be one of the best business blogs and Forbes considers her as one of the most influential people on social media. Thank you, Viveka, for being on the radio show and writing this blog post. A replay of the show is on this page for your listening convenience. -Howard-
I have said – since its inception – that LinkedIn endorsements are a great idea badly executed.
When LinkedIn brought in Skills to replace Specialties (in the summary section,) I was a little skeptical. I mean really, you can say you’re skilled and just about anything you want. Where’s the verification?
So when LinkedIn brought in Endorsements, the concept made sense to me. Anyone can say they are a skilled chiropractor – but if no one is going to endorse that skill, are they really?
Unfortunately, rather than allowing people to organically find and endorse their connections on LinkedIn, LinkedIn pretty much shoved Endorsements down our throats. In email digests, on our home page, on our connections’ profile pages. They are everywhere!
Add to that the people who have connections that they don’t really know (like me and anyone else who realizes LinkedIn is only as useable as the size of your network.) People who don’t know you endorsing your for skills you don’t have renders Endorsements virtually meaningless. Add to that the fact that LinkedIn has some wacky algorithm that chooses the skills to be endorsed for people that they might not have or be strong in, and you really get a disconnect.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to remove any skill you think is not relevant to your profile. I started getting a whole bunch of consulting requests for my YouTube services. I don’t do YouTube. But then I noticed bunches of people were endorsing me for YouTube. So I took YouTube out of my skills and I stopped getting the consulting requests. Which shows me that skills are having an effect on findability. And that maybe I should offer YouTube consulting!
Nonetheless – it is what it is. And like Klout, you kind of have to pay play the Endorsements game. If someone goes to your profile and you have no skills listed and no Endorsements for those skills, there might be an assumption that you’re not very good at what you do. So knowing that we have to play the endorsements game – how do we make the best of it?
First of all, make sure that you have the right skills listed in your profile so you can get the right endorsements for those skills. You can add and find new skills at http://LinkedIn.com/skills. Or just go to the skills section in edit mode and remove or add new skills – up to 50.
If people are endorsing you for things you’re not great at, then thank them for the endorsement, and perhaps ask them if they’d be willing to endorse you for skills that you feel more confident in.
“Dear John, thank you so much for endorsing my basket weaving skills. I’m really feeling better about my neurophysiology, and would appreciate it if you could endorse that skill as well. And of course please let me know if you have any skills you would like me to endorse in return.”
LinkedIn has made it easy to send a quick message to the people who have endorsed you. So make it a practice every day to go into your Endorsements, scroll over the pictures of the people who’ve endorsed you, and send them a quick thank you.
Of course you can always endorse other people with the hopes that they’ll endorse you too. But don’t make it a “tit for tat” game. Endorsements already are already weighted towards the side of non-legitimacy.
I don’t recommend being the person who doesn’t except endorsements because you think they’re stupid. I think they’re stupid too. I also know they’re necessary.
We can only hope that LinkedIn begins to figure out that the way endorsements are being fed to its membership is not a relevant reflection of its memberships’ skillsets. But until then, just hit accept and keep on moving!